Learn about Succession Planning from…Archie Comics?!
Succession planning isn’t something you expect to learn about from Archie comic books.
The brainchild of John L. Goldwater and Louis H. Silberkleit, the red-haired miscreant known as Archie Andrews entertained children (and some adults) for several decades. The popular comic book was eventually run akin to a family business, as both Goldwater and Silberkleit were succeed by their two sons, Richard Goldwater and Michael Silberkleit. Richard and Michael were, in turn, succeeded by Richard’s half-brother, Jonathan, and Michael’s role was likewise succeeded by his widow, Nancy Silberkleit. Jonathan and Nancy both signed on to become co-executives of Archie comics, a pact which was supposed to end in 2013.
Unlike their predecessors, Goldwater and Silberkleit soon began to butt heads over their vision on which direction the company should go. It was inevitable that something like that would happen; when you have two different heads of a company, they’re bound to have disputes over the way in which a company should be run. Instead of presenting a united front, the relationship between the pair deteriorated to shouting matches behind closed doors, butting heads over content, and each accusing the other of “poisoning the work environment.” In short, Archie Comics had a succession problem: two successors to the comic book empire, with very different perspectives on how the trajectory of the comic book empire should go. Silberkleit had a more conservative outlook on the stories and wanted to keep it the way it was (repeating the same stories from past decades), and the other (Goldwater) wanted to take more risks and update the stories for modern times. In fact, if you look at the way Archie Comics is being run now, the stories vary widely from the previous decades; the comics have taken a more darker, adult tone. The comic “empire” is taking far more risks to appeal to a broader audience.